Posted November 6, 2014.
Piercing – like tattooing – is just one of today’s popular forms of “body art” and self-expression. Piercing may seem daring, cool and totally safe because some celebrities use body piercing to flaunt their particular style or attitude. Hip fashion magazines and videos will tout it—that is until it’s no longer deemed the “in thing” and something else come along to replace it.
However, piercing the tongue, lips, cheeks or the uvula (the tiny tissue that hangs at the back of the throat), is not as safe as some would have you believe. That’s because the mouth’s moist environment—home to huge amounts of breeding bacteria—is an ideal place for infection. If you are thinking about getting a piercing—or if you already have one —there are some health risks you should know about.
RISKS: mouth piercing can interfere with speech, chewing or swallowing. That may seem like a mere inconvenience until you consider that it may also cause: excessive drooling, pain and swelling, infection, chipped teeth, damage to fillings, scar tissue and nerve damage. The harmful effects can happen during the piercing, soon after, or even long after the procedure.
Just touching your mouth jewelry can lead to infection. Believe it or not, people who have piercings constantly touch them—which is a perfect opportunity for bacteria from hands to enter piercing sites. Food particles that collect around piercing sites can lead to infection.
If you already have piercings contact us immediately with any signs of infection—such as swelling, pain, fever, chills, shaking or a red streaked appearance around the site of the piercing. For additional information regarding oral piercing, visit the Web site of the American Dental Association at www.ada.org and click on the Public content area.